Apparently, the fear was that US TV audiences would be shocked by authentic sized boasting pieces:
They may have been the crowning glory for any right-thinking Tudor gentleman, but it appears the traditional codpiece may be a little too much for American television viewers.
The stars of Wolf Hall, the BBC’s new period drama based on the novels of Hilary Mantel, have disclosed they have been issued with “smaller”-than average codpieces, out of respect for viewers’ sensibilities.
Mark Rylance, who stars as Thomas Cromwell in the forthcoming BBC series, said programme-makers had decided on “very small codpieces” which had to be “tucked away”.
He suggested allowances had been made amid concerns about the taste of modern audiences, particularly in America, who “may not know exactly what’s going on down there”.
It is one of few concessions permitted by programme-makers, who have otherwise gone to remarkable lengths to ensure historical accuracy, including trips to Shakespeare’s Globe to learn sword-fighting, lessons in etiquette and bowing, and a comprehensive study on spoons.
Mantel has given her seal of approval to the production, issuing a statement of glowing praise for how it has been adapted on screen.
Saying she was pleased programme-makers had resisted the temptation to “patronise” the Tudors to make them “cute”, she said: “My expectations were high and have been exceeded.”
When asked about the costumes in a Q&A to launch the BBC show, alongside actors Damian Lewis and Claire Foy, Rylance said they “did take a while to put on” but praised the overall effect.
“I think the codpieces are too small,” he added. “I think it was a direction from our American producers PBS [the US public service broadcaster] – they like very small codpieces which always seemed to be tucked away.”
When asked to clarify, he said: “I wasn’t personally disappointed by the codpieces: I’m a little more used to them than other people from being at the Globe for ten years.
“But I can see for modern audiences, perhaps more in America, they may not know exactly what’s going on down there.”
H/T to David Stamper for the link(s).